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Canvas (Known Issues) - Students Enrolled in Multiple Sections of Course

In the University of Wisconsin System (except for UW Madison) instance of Canvas, users have reported course access issues related to students enrolled in more than one section of the same Canvas course with different enrollment statuses. Instructure Support states: "Canvas is not designed to home conflicting enrollment statuses in the same course shell and having... two enrollments with an active and inactive status can create access and permission issues in the course."
These problems appear when two or more sections have been crosslisted into the same Canvas course shell, a student is enrolled in more than one of the sections, and that student is "inactive" in one section and "active" in another. For a list of Canvas course enrollment statuses, see Instructure's Canvas Enrollment Status Comparison

There are several ways this could happen. For example:
Reported issues include, but are not limited to:
  • Gradebook issues
  • Inability to access assignments or quizzes assigned to a course section
  • Ability to access assignments or quizzes from the wrong course section
  • Inability to satisfy Mastery Path requirements


Instructure's recommended workaround is to change impacted students' "inactive" enrollments to "concluded" or "deleted."

In Canvas subaccounts where enrollments are manually created, a Canvas administrator can conclude the enrollment or delete the enrollment manually. Depending on the subaccount, this may require Institutional Admin permissions, or it may require root-level Account Admin permissions.

In SIS-integrated Canvas subaccounts, where enrollments are exported automatically from the institution's Student Information System, the enrollment must be changed to "concluded" or "deleted" in the Student Information System. Any manual changes will be overridden the next time the Student Information System updates Canvas's enrollments (usually overnight). For reasons outside of Canvas, an institution may not be able to change "inactive" enrollments to "concluded" or "deleted" after the drop or withdrawal dates. Contact your institution's Registrar's Office for more information.


Instructure's recommended solution is to change business processes and Student Information System settings to cease using the "inactive" setting.

In Canvas subaccounts where enrollments are manually created, this would involve manually concluding or deleting enrollments (as described above).

In SIS-integrated Canvas subaccounts, this would involve changing Student Information System settings to send all non-active enrollments as "deleted_last_completed" instead of "inactive." This would allow Canvas to identify if there are multiple enrollments for a student present in a course shell. If there are, the non-active enrollment would be deleted from the course shell, allowing only one enrollment to remain. If there are no other enrollments for the student present in the course shell, then the enrollment would be sent with a "completed" status.

Although these proposed solutions would resolve the multiple enrollments issue, they would change the experience of students which would otherwise have been marked as "inactive" in any course. In an "inactive" state, the student would be listed in the course roster for teachers, but would not be able to view or participate in the course until the enrollment is activated. If the enrollment is "deleted," that enrollment is removed entirely from the course, and the student would have no record of participation in the course section with the deleted enrollment. If the enrollment is instead "completed," the student is not listed on the people page course roster and they are limited to read-only access to the course.

Since these changes would have a significant impact on all students dropping or withdrawing from course sections, we recommend that an institution carefully plan and test these recommended solutions, to make sure that they do not make unacceptable changes to other business processes.